Diabetes Can Stall Brain Development In Children

1/30/2015 4:55:47 PM
written By : Nithya Subramanian Print

High blood sugar can impact brain development in children indicated a new study that examined young ones suffering from Type 1 diabetes.

Medical researchers at Nemours Children’s Clinic conducted brain scans and regularly measured the blood glucose levels of children between the ages of four and nine years old. They found that children with diabetes exhibited slower brain growth than those in their age group with normal glucose levels. 

Grey and white matter growth in brains were both effected by abnormal blood sugar levels. This was seen in localised areas of the brain, as well as across the organ.  “Our results show the potential vulnerability of young developing brains to abnormally elevated glucose (blood sugar) levels, even when the diabetes duration has been relatively brief,” Nelly Mauras, from the Nemours Children’s Clinic in Florida, said.

Despite slower growth rates observed in children with diabetes, no changes in cognitive ability was noted by researchers. However, this early conclusion still needs to be backed up by further research.

“As better technology develops, we hope to determine if the differences observed with brain imaging can improve with better glucose control,” Mauras stated in a press release.

Type 1 diabetes is diagnosed in some individuals with abnormally high glucose levels in their blood. In these patients, the pancreas does not make enough insulin, a hormone essential for the uptake of energy into cells. This results in a buildup of glucose in the bloodstream, which can lead to a myriad of health problems, including heart and kidney disease, as well as leading to disease of gums and teeth.

“Type 1 diabetes happens most often in children and young adults but can appear at any age,” the National Institutes of Health reported. Symptoms of the disease include excessive thirst and hunger, frequent urination, unexplained weight loss, dry skin, blurry eyesight, and wounds that heal slowly.

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